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DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LPG AND NATURAL GAS | SpeedGas

What is LPG?

LPG is the acronym for Liquefied Petroleum Gas 

LPG is used for heating our homes & hot water, cooking our food, powering our BBQs & fuel our cars.

It also powers many business and agricultural processes.

The term LPG actually encompasses more than one type of gas.

There are a number of hydrocarbon gases that fall into the category of LPG.

Their common characteristic is that they can be compressed into liquid at relatively low pressures.

The two most common are Propane and Butane.

Learn more about this amazing transportable gas that comes in a bottle…

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel hydrocarbon gas mixture found in underground rock formations. Raw natural gas composition is made of methane, propane, butane, isobutane, ethane, ethene, propene, isobutene, butadiene, pentane, pentene and pentanes plus. Refined natural gas is primarily made of methane and is commonly used for cooking, heating, hot water, electrical generation and vehicle fuel. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, It is formed over millions of years from decayed biomass subject to heat and pressure. So, natural gas is found deep underground in various rock formations. It is accessed by drilling deep wells.

The “wet” gas that comes from the well must be processed to separate out the natural gas liquids, like LPG, as well as water and other impurities. Finally, the dry gas is passed through the gas pipelines that deliver it to our homes and businesses.

Natural gas is used primarily as fuel to generate heat.

In homes this includes hot water, cooking and heating.

In industrial applications, it commonly heats boilers for various processes, as well as dryers, ovens and kilns.

When compressed into CNG, it can also be used to fuel vehicles.

The generation of electricity is also a major use of natural gas, as it is much cleaner that coal fired generation.

Electricity generation can be via direct gas powered turbines, indirectly with steam turbines or a combination of the two, where the waste heat from the gas turbines is recycled to produce steam and drive steam turbines.

How Does LPG Work?

LPG is stored under pressure, as a liquid, in a gas bottle.

It turns back into gas vapor when you release some of the pressure in the gas bottle by turning on your appliance.

Almost all of the uses for LPG involve the use of the gas vapor, not the liquefied gas.

What is LPG made of: LPG Composition

The gases that fall under the “LPG” label, including Propane, Butane and Isobutane, as well as mixtures of these gases. The two most common are Propane and Butane and the percentage of propane and butane in LPG varies.

Where does LPG come from?

LPG is not made or manufactured, it is found naturally in combination with other hydrocarbons.

LPG is produced during natural gas processing and petroleum refining.

Once refined, LPG is stored as a liquid under pressure in gas bottles or tanks.

LPG processing involves the separation and collection of the gas from its petroleum base.

About 60% is produced from the natural gas stream that comes out of the wellhead.

The other 40% is produced during the crude oil refining process.

LPG is isolated from the hydrocarbon mixtures by its separation from natural gas or by the refining of crude oil.

Natural gas liquids (NGL) range from 1% to 10% of the natural gas flow.

Similarly, LPG produced from crude oil refining constitutes between 1% and 4% of the crude oil processed.

Both processes begin by drilling oil wells.

Following its refinement, LPG is stored and distributed as a liquid under pressure until used, at which point it is utilized as either a liquid or a gas (vapor).

Refined from Oil & Natural Gas

LPG processing involves separation and collection of the gas from its petroleum base.

LPG is isolated from the petrochemical mixtures by separation from natural gas or by the refining of crude oil.

Both processes begin by drilling oil wells.

The gas/oil mixture is piped out of the well and into a gas trap, which separates the stream into crude oil and “wet” gas, which contains LPG and natural gas.

The heavier crude oil sinks to the bottom of the trap and is then pumped into an oil storage tank for refining.

Crude oil undergoes a variety of refining processes, including catalytic cracking, crude distillation, and others.

One of the refined products is LPG.

The “wet” gas, off the top of the gas trap, is processed to separate the gasoline (petrol) from the natural gas and LPG.

The natural gas, which is mostly methane, is piped to towns and cities for distribution by gas utility companies.

The petrol is shipped to service stations.

The LPG also enters the distribution network, where it eventually finds its way to end users, including Home LPG and Commercial LPG users

LPG vs Natural Gas – Difference Between LPG and Natural Gas – Is LPG Natural Gas

LPG & Natural Gas are chemically different gases, as natural gas is methane gas whilst LPG – liquefied petroleum gas – is propane or butane (bottled gas). There is a higher energy content for LPG vs natural gas, so less LPG gas is needed. LPG heat content is 93.2MJ/m³ vs natural gas at 38.7MJ/m³. The air to gas ratio for LPG vs natural gas combustion is about 25:1 for LPG vs natural gas at a 10:1 ratio.

The difference between LPG and natural gas is that they are different gases with different distribution, as well as different energy content, density, gas:air mix for combustion and working pressure. Propane is LPG vs natural gas as methane. Gas bottles are used to supply LPG vs natural gas conveyed by pipeline.

LPG compared to natural gas has more than double the energy content at 93.2MJ/m³ vs natural gas at 38.7MJ/m³, so LPG is much more efficient than natural gas and is now cheaper in many cases.

LPG vs Natural Gas – Summary of Key Differences

LPG has a higher calorific value, or energy content, so less gas is required to produce the same amount of heat. The second key difference is in the oxygen to gas ratio required for proper combustion. LPG requires an oxygen to gas ratio of approximately 25 to 1. Natural gas requires a ratio of around 10 to 1.

  • LPG is propane and butane vs natural gas which is methane

  • LPG vs natural gas are different chemicals with different formulae: LPG: Propane is C3H8 & Butane is C4H10 whilst Natural Gas – Methane is CH4

  • LPG is heavier than air vs natural gas which is lighter than air

  • LPG has a higher energy content at 93.2MJ/mvs natural gas at 38.7MJ/m3

  • LPG requires a higher air to gas ratio for combustion at a 25 to 1 ratio vs 10 to 1 ratio for natural gas

  • LPG is liquefied through pressurization vs natural gas which is cryogenically turned to liquefied natural gas – LNG

  • LPG is distributed in gas bottles and tanks vs natural gas being conveyed via pipeline

  • LPG appliances operate at 2.75 kPa vs 1.1 kPa for natural gas appliances

  • LPG is not natural gas but it is derived from natural gas processing.

    LPG is better than natural gas because it has a higher energy content, it is portable and available everywhere, and in many cases it is now less expensive.

    Natural gas is better than LPG when it comes to delivery through pipes and the fact that it produces slightly less CO2 when burned.

    LPG vs natural gas - difference between LPG and natural gas

    Comparing LPG vs natural gas, propane is heavier than air and will settle whilst natural gas is lighter than air and will dissipate more quickly if there is a leak, which may be a safety benefit over LPG.

    In summary, the differences between LPG vs natural gas are different energy content, density, storage, delivery methods and the amount of air required for proper combustion.

    Propane is not natural gas but natural gas processing is one source of propane.

    So, LPG (LP) gas is not the same as natural gas, even though both are flammable hydrocarbon gases. However, they are used for many of the same applications.

Is Propane Natural Gas – Is LPG Natural Gas

LPG is not natural gas, likewise, propane is not natural gas.  Natural gas is methane whilst LPG is propane or butane.

The biggest difference between LPG vs natural gas is that they are different gases, as LPG is propane (C3H8) vs natural gas, which is is methane (CH4). LPG-propane is not natural gas. LPG-propane is a product of natural gas processing, as it is refined from the raw natural gas that comes out of the well and is also referred to as one of the natural gas liquids – NGL. LPG-propane is also sourced from crude oil refinery.

LPG is not natural gas, as LPG is propane and natural gas is methane. LPG is produced during natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Once refined, LPG is stored as a liquid under pressure in gas bottles or tanks.

Times have changed and natural gas is no longer the presumed low cost option. LPG supply is often less expensive than natural gas.

Natural gas liquids (NGL) range from 1% to 10% of the natural gas flow

Natural gas is mostly methane while propane is just propane. Natural gas is delivered via gas mains or pipes while LPG-propane comes in a gas bottle, cylinder or tank. CNG comes in heavier natural gas bottles.

There are many other difference as well, including energy content, storage, density and chemical formulas (formulae).

Is Bottled Gas Natural Gas ?

Natural gas is primarily methane that remains gas even when pressurized. Raw or “wet” natural gas also contains LPG – liquefied petroleum gas – including propane and butane, also called “bottled gas”, that are produced during natural gas processing.

Natural Gas May be Safer Than LPG

LPG is heavier than air vs natural gas that is lighter than air. This may be advantageous in the event of a leak, as natural gas will typically dissipate faster whilst LPG may collect in low spots, near the near the floor or in the basement of a home.

Is LPG Better than Natural Gas

You can see how LPG is better than natural gas when you buy a cooktop. Cooktops usually come with two sets of gas jets. The ones for LPG have a much smaller hole and use less gas. That’s because LPG contains more heat energy, with 93.2MJ/m³ vs natural gas at 38.7MJ/m³ (2572 Btu/ft³ vs 1011 Btu/ft³).

LPG gas has some distinct advantages, including portability and higher energy content. It may also be cheaper than natural gas in many situations.

Natural gas has a safety advantage vs LPG. As natural gas is lighter than air, in the event of a leak, natural gas will dissipate more quickly. As LPG (propane) is heavier than air, it may collect in basements or near the floor of a home.

Natural gas has some other advantages, too. It produces slightly less CO2 when burned and it doesn’t need to be delivered, as it typically comes though pipes (gas mains).

So, as to if LPG is better than natural gas, it really comes down to a matter of opinion. Both gases have their advantages.

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